Nigeria

Death toll from Lagos building collapse reaches 44

The number of dead bodies recovered from the rubble of the 21-storey building, which collapsed last week in Ikoyi, Lagos, has reached 44.

The number of dead bodies recovered from the rubble of the 21-storey building, which collapsed last week in Ikoyi, Lagos, has reached 44.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), two bodies were found at the site on Sunday.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who visited the scene of the accident on Saturday, had put the death toll, as of that day, at 42.

However, Gbenga Omotoso, the Lagos State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, told newsmen on Monday that the casualty figures stood at 43. He said one body was recovered on Sunday.

It is unclear why the state and federal emergency rescue agencies arrived at different figures. Last week, the agencies also issued different casualty figures to journalists, prompting the governor’s “chain of command” speech at the site.

On Monday, NEMA said the federal government has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to assist in the ongoing operation.

Since the skyscraper crumbled last week, relatives of victims and sympathisers had continued to throng the area, hoping to see their loved ones alive.

The state government had also set up ‘help desks’ to help families identify their loved ones trapped in the debris.

However, on Monday, few people were seen at the site. The ‘help desks’ were no longer present but the rescue operation was still going on.

This newspaper also observed that the debris had been evacuated almost to the ground level.

On Friday, Mr Sanwo-Olu granted access to family members to identify bodies of their loved ones deposited in the Lagos Mainland Hospital morgue.

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